Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

July 23 to July 30, 2021

Cassadaga Lake Boat Launch Update: The trailered boat launch renovations are complete and launch is open as of June 14th.

Lake Erie, Harbors and Tributaries

On the eastern end of Lake Erie, deeper water along the international line is the best bet to find cooperative walleye. Anglers report decent catches in 55-60 feet of water off Buffalo and 65-70 off Sturgeon Point. Slow trolling or drifting at 0.8 to 1.2 mph and bottom bouncing with worm harnesses has been productive. The fishing off Dunkirk has ranged from fair to good in 70-90 feet of water. The bite has really picked up from Barcelona to the PA line, with some limit catches reported. Stickbaits, spoons and worm harnesses run between 45 feet down and the bottom has work well in 55-75 feet of water. Some trollers are fishing at depths of 70-100 feet and catching eyes too. See the Walleye Fishing on Lake Erie page for more information.

Anglers continue to see a good smallmouth bass bite around the major reefs and shoals at depths over 25 feet. Ned rigs, jigs with swimbaits, tube jigs, live minnows and crayfish are good bass offerings. Lake trout are an underutilized species in Lake Erie and are typically available in deeper waters west of Dunkirk in July and August. A group fishing out of Dunkirk this past week reported a steady pick of lake trout in 100-120 feet of water. All lakers hit spoons run within 10 feet of bottom. Note that lake trout may also be suspended below the thermocline.

Niagara River

Recent smallmouth bass fishing around the upper river has been decent to good. Concentrate on areas outside weed edges in 10-20 feet of water. Controlled drifting and fishing a ned rig, tube jig or bottom-bouncing rig with crayfish or shiner works well. Anglers can target muskellunge along weed edges with large stickbaits or 8-10 inch tube jigs.

Fishing conditions have improved as "Moss" has been clearing from the lower river. Smallmouth bass catches still lead the way in the lower river, but walleye catches are picking up. Bass are available from the gorge down to the mouth, while walleye are showing in the upper and lower drifts. Shore anglers can wet a line at Whirlpool, Devils Hole and Artpark State Parks, Lewiston Landing, Joe Davis State Park platform, Youngstown Landing and Fort Niagara State Park docks. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario & Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Fishing has been slow the nearshore zone. Inconsistent water temperature profiles and line-fouling vegetative debris from this week's blowout (creeks) are contributing factors. Outside 200 feet of water, fish are scattered and fishing success has been highly variable. Once anglers have found some marks or bait schools, gear run 40-100 feet down has produced some catches of king salmon and steelhead. For those new to fishing Lake Ontario, visit the Trolling for Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon page for more information.

There is a wide variety of warmwater species available in the Lake Ontario harbors and tributaries. Fish are available well up to the dams on larger streams such as Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks. Possible catches include yellow perch, northern pike, black bass, bowfin, channel catfish, longnose gar, rock bass and other sunfish. Be aware there is an "eat none" fish consumption advisory for Eighteenmile Creek.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers have had to work for decent walleye catches lately. Target walleye lake-wide along weed edges in 12-16 feet of water by slow trolling with worm harnesses, bottom bouncing or by jigging. The key is to get your bait/lure close to the bottom. There is a plentiful mix of yellow perch and white perch in deeper weed beds, especially around the northern end of lake. Small minnows work well. Anglers can target muskellunge along and over weedlines by trolling or casting large stickbaits and bucktail spinners, or target suspended muskie 10-15 feet down over 20-30 feet of water. A faster trolling speed of 3-4 mph works well. For tips on how to catch and properly handle muskie, visit the Muskie 101 page. Visit the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Inland Trout Streams

Heavy rainfall blew out all regional trout streams earlier this week. The smaller streams have since dropped back into good fishing shape. Some medium and larger streams remain a bit high but are fishable. Streamer and bugger patterns are a good bet in moderate to higher flows. Fly hatches have been very light and sporadic recently. Fly anglers can see surface action on terrestrial patterns like ants, foam beetles and grasshoppers. Fish terrestrial patterns on a dead drift, giving a slight twitch now and again to imitate a struggling insect.

New trout regulations are in effect April 1st on most inland trout streams. For information, review the Trout Stream Regulation Press Release, which includes links to the Trout Stream Management Plan, the new Trout Stream Fishing Map and the new Regulation Guide. Check out the Fishing for Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and techniques.

Spring Trout Stocking

Spring stockings for all of western New York's trout stocking waters has been completed. For County lists of stocked waters and number of trout stocked, see the Spring Trout Stocking 2021 page.

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; fwfish9@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!